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January 23, 2009 07:28 PM UTC

Budget Horror Show Pushed Back To Next Tuesday

  • by: Colorado Pols

Have a nice weekend, the Rocky Mountain News’ Lynn Bartels reports ominously:

The bloodbath has been delayed.

Gov. Bill Ritter was scheduled to unveil next year’s budget to the Joint Budget Committee today, but the presentation has been moved to Tuesday.

Democrats who have been briefed on some of the proposed cuts say they are staggering. The state is grappling with a massive revenue shortfall as tax collections spiral…

Word is that budget projections have deteriorated even further since the governor’s bleak assessment one week ago. We’re talking devastating with a capital ‘D,’ folks, the bill for decades of TABOR, Arveschoug-Bird, and other ideological hubris coming due.

The delay here is in part necessary to come up with the right way to break some very depressing news…

Unless you’re a not-so-secretly gleeful Republican, of course.


125 thoughts on “Budget Horror Show Pushed Back To Next Tuesday

    1. But Amendment 23 and fed mandates will protect many. Health care workers, educators are protected.

      The rest of us will have to bear their shares of the budget cuts, which is what those good libs think is ok.

      Instead of just looking at budget cuts per se, Ritter and the legislature need to look at the laws and regulations that make it so expensive to run the government.  

      And, if it wants to attract job-generating businesses to the state, they need to look at ways to make it less costly for employers to comply with state laws and regulations.

      All the crying that there are untouchable programs in the state budget is juvenile. Time to grow up, realize we’re in a deep recession and we can’t live high on the hog anymore.

      1. If you know of laws and regulations that Gov. Ritter and the legislature can amend, revise or repeal and that can free $600 million before June 30, 2009 and another $1 billion next fidcal year, please state each one specifically and how much money will be saved.

        What we really need to do is amend the Colorado Consitution and laws by eliminating TABOR, Amendment 23 and A-V and return to representative government and leave these decisions, including the hard ones like we face now, to the legislature. If we, the voters, don’t like the results, we can vote them out at the next election.  Attempting to set the state budget by rigid and absolute legal provisions like TABOR and Amendment 23 has obviously proven to be an utter failure; an experiment in the absurd.

        1. Old debate trick. If you don’t have a good answer, ask for details that are irrelevant to the discussion.

          The governor’s job is to assign his staff to review the laws with the joint budget committee and come up with reforms that will save money.

          Obviously, the Dems don’t want to do this. They want to warn that popular programs will be cut and to call for tax increases and the end of TABOR.

          So we’re debating policy, not nit picking laws and regs. If Ritter is serious about budget cutting, we’ll see it.

          Don’t hold your breath.

              1. IT’S NOT HIS JOB!

                Something he can work on, but to just deem legislation in place as wasteful or unneccessary and then de-fund them IS NOT HIS JOB!

              1. only that even unimpressive arguments expressed in a belligerent tone are best dispensed with by compelling logic expressed in a civil tone. I’ve been guilty of failing to take that advice in the past, and may again be in the future, but anytime any of us makes that mistake, it substantially reduces the quality and value of the discourse here. Let jerks be jerks without volunteering to be a vessel for their reproduction (or without allowing yourself to be infected by the “jerk” virus, whichever metaphor you prefer).

          1. there is a real debate trick of this type, involving the claim that if the speaker doesn’t know everything, then anything he claims is suspect. However, if an empirical claim is made without any actual knowledge of the relevant data, it’s no trick to call somewhat out for that.

  1. I’m just putting it out there, but is Tabor becoming a simple scapegoat for the state of our State? It’s as if the other 49 states are doing just fine, but we’re screwed solely due to Tabor.

    I’m not saying I’d prefer Tabor were confining our system, but I honestly don’t think we’d be so much better off right now if the Amendment didn’t exist.  

      1. We’d still be in the same place because of the economy, we would have just spent more money over the years on pet projects.

        The concept is good, it might just need to be tweaked.

        Besides, I just love that Ritter was unable to weasel another major announcement on a Friday afternoon.

        1. Colorado is fiscally worse off than other states because of limits and ratchet effects imposed by TABOR. That’s not something that is an opinion – it’s a reality. We would not be in the same place without TABOR.

          The cuts we are facing aren’t pet projects, LB. The legislature is talking about perhaps needing to completely defund higher education, for example. What are these mythical pet projects that you speak of? Name one.

          1. We aren’t talking about pet projects here or what could be termed luxury items. We are talking about cutting the transportation budget even more.  Right now, the proposed transportation budget for next fiscal year isn’t even enough to fund the maintenance budget for our highways.

            When the economy does begin to recover and tax revenues begin to increase, TABOR will preclude the state from spending much of those revenues which means the budget is always behind the actual and realistic needs for basic programs like transportation and education. TABOR wasn’t designed to control public expenditures. It was designed to destroy the government. Colorado needs to remove this very poor and silly constiutional provision.  

            1. But it just isn’t the issue this year.  1/3 of Ref C isn’t going to help K-12 year, there’s not enough there.

              You’re definitely right about what’s coming when C expires and the economy gets under control.

              So, if it helps the cause, I’m willing to use TABOR as a scapegoat.  I don’t think it does.

              1. Twenty years ago, as I mentioned this morning, there was a commonly held value, among Democrats and Republicans, that education and transportation are programs that the state should fund, but today it seems, at least from my perspective, that Republicans simply don’t believe government should exist without exception.

                Today, the Republican Party no longer defines what programs it believes the government should undertake and then determine how much funding each requires. Instead, the party won’t even acknowledge what programs are legitimate. Its only mantra is cut spending and cut taxes regardless of the consequences. I can’t speak for you but is that what you think the Republican Party should stand for? If not, then what programs should the party support and how much should be budgeted for each one? I know you aren’t going to have a complete answer to my question but there really does seem to be a disconnect today with the legitimate needs of scoiety and the Republican philosophy.

                If you have a different take, I would like to hear it because from where I stand (and in the past I was a very active Republican in this state and ran statewide and congressional campaigns)the Party has nothing of substance to offer except cut taxes and spending. Nothing else matters and the consequences don’t matter. I don’t believe that is a winning philosophy and I truly believe it is irresponsible toward our state and nation.

                1. The party has moved away from you, and it’s moved away from me.

                  You obviously are a tax and spend liberal. I don’t know your views on the social issues.

                  I’m an economic conservative and differ with the GOP on most social issues.

            1. Using a bunch of made up shit straight from Grover Norquist’s closet and pretending it’s a logical argument.

              C’mon LB, you’re smarter than that. (But it is Friday afternoon  – happy hour starting early today?)

                1. It would be interesting to know what percentage of additional spending would be considered “wasteful.”

                  This is why I backed 59 so strongly this year. At least we knew how additional revenue would be spent.

                    1. There would have been no wasteful spending paid for by tax increases that TABOR prevented?

                    2. depends on who’s ox is getting gored, eh?

                      That if they didn’t have to go to the taxpayers for increases that we wouldn’t have seen more wasteful spending from our government?

                      Yes, without TABOR we likely would have more govt spending. Would it all have been wasteful? Is funding higher ed wasteful? K-12? Health Care? How about the billion-dollar backlog of road maintenance? Do we repair bridges before or after they fall down?

                      All those hypothetical wasteful pet projects that clog your nightmares never make up more than a pittance of any state’s expenditures. If you and your buddies at the Independence Institute have concrete evidence to the contrary, let’s see it. Otherwise, you’re just blowing smoke.

                    3. Without TABOR, many things would have been different. Possibly the Republicans would have stayed in power, since it was arguably their ridiculous overreaching that lost them the state. And maybe Republicans waste less money than Democrats.

                      Did I just BLOW your MIND?

                      Seriously, though, as ajb notes, it’s kind of a baby/bathwater thing. The additional cost of occasional waste is usually relatively small in comparison to the big important stuff. All of the earmarks McCain kept complaining about made up a miniscule percentage of the federal budget, for example.

            2. These “pet projects” don’t exist. You love TABOR because you think it protects you from something that isn’t happening. That’s like saying you support giant laser beams because we need to protect ourselves from space alien attacks.  

              1. I maintain that it’s better to err on the side of throwing spending to the voters, knowing that if a giant financial meltdown like we’re having now happens that emergency measures will have to be undertaken.

                I’d prefer not to place (paraphrasing P.J. O’Rourke) whiskey and car keys in the hands of legislators who put things like putting id chips in cats on the front burner.  

                1. It was an extremely radical solution to a problem that could have been solved by minimally competent legislators. As for emergency measures, they are impossible under TABOR. Illegal. That’s precisely the problem with it.

                2. and that is a radical departure from what our founding fathers at both the national and state levels believed. We elect representatives and senators to solve these problems but by advocating measures like TABOR and others who advocate measures like Amendment 23, we have hamstrung our legislature and made it impossible for the house and senate to handle these problems in a responsible or reasonable manner. We need to get rid of TABOR, Amendment 23 and A-V.

        2. TABOR and the ratchet down provisions in it mean that state revenues never catch-up with actual costs.  With TABOR, today’s recession means an almost permanent revnue shortfall.  

          During the 1980’s recession, which was pre-TABOR and pre-Amendment 23, the REPUBLICAN dominated legislatures actually adjusted the tax rates upward to save essential government programs like education (K-university) and transportation.

          Amendment 23 will be gone in I believe two years but we really need to ask the voters to remove TABOR. It is unworkable and harms the state.

          1. But laying blame on Tabor alone is just silly. Ref C has provide 3+ years of a Tabor free system, yet we’re still in this predicament.

            Are we to believe the legislature would have built such a surplus if Tabor had not been enacted, that we’d be in significantly better shape right now?

            I’m just pointing out that Tabor is a scapegoat for our shortfall, not the sole reason for it.

        3. At least $600 million for the budget ending June 30, 2009 and as much as $1 billion additional for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2009. “Staggering” is the correct word.

      2. Liberals like to use crises to justify more government spending and higher taxes.

        They’re gearing up to use the same ploy times a thousand now.

        The problem is that the state’s vendors and workers will do everything they can to keep taxpayers’ money flowing into their checking accounts.

        These days, voters who were dumb enough to elect Obama and huge majorities for the Dems in Congress probably will be easy for the Dems to suck in again. They’ll approve the tax increases that will make economic recovery very difficult in the state and country.

        1. Liberals like to use crises to justify more government spending and higher taxes.

          NSA wiretaps

          A trillion dollar war

          A trillion dollar bailout of the wealthiest Americans

          In the above quote, just substitute Republican for Liberals and borrowing for taxes.

          At least libs believe in pay-as-you-go rather than passing the mess to our kids!

        2. for the Republican party:

          Labeling the majority of voters here in the state and across the nation as ‘dumb’?

          The Dems won in a blow out because voters understand that Republican ‘economics’ have failed this country.

          What pray tell did the architects and brain trust behind TABOR expect their efforts would bring about?  What do the like of Norquist mean about shrinking government to the size where its small enough to ‘drown in a bathtub’?  Isn’t it precisely this type of crisis that was the desired outcome?  And how well is that working out for Republicans these days?

          Know what the NRCC still had posted on their website under ‘Economy’ today?

          Thanks to Republican economic policies, the U.S. economy is robust and job creation is strong.

          So tell me again why your party should be given the reins?  Because they are so perceptive about reality?  Because they hope to drive government into bankruptcy?  

            1. That’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in weeks.

              Republicans still seem to think they should get their way when they stamp their feet, despite the fact that everybody hates them now.

              1. when he won 51% (to Kerry’s 48%) of the vote.  Obama merely stated that he won.  

                Obama’s margin was 6 points, Bush’s 3.  

                Just in case facts matter to AS…

                  1. Funny I thought it was said in a closed meeting.  

                    Thus we really don’t know how Obama ‘sounded’ do we.  You mean you read it that way?  No bias there, huh?  

        3. I don’t buy this “It’s TABOR fault” line for a minute.  TABOR has nothing to do with projected shortfalls in taxes.  At best, you can possibly argue that TABOR will be a problem once the economy has recovered, but if that really is the case, people will buy into a time out period like they did with ref. C.  But to say that the budget cuts we’re facing are due directly to TABOR is a damned lie.

    1. The other 49 states are far from fine.  Check out California for a vivid example.  Of course that is another state that has put itself in multiple binds through the initiative process.

  2. I am no fan of TABOR or A-B, but the fiscal situation is far more complex than just those two aberrations.  The state is hopelessly stuck in a revenue trap that was largely designed for the late 1950’s when we were a manufacturing, mining and agricultural economy.  Now we are more of a service economy and we have done nothing to adjust the sales tax system accordingly.

    Even without TABOR and A-V, we would be in deep trouble because the revenue system just does not produce the income necessary to run a state or local government.

    It is really time for a complete overhaul of the finance system – as well as dumping TABOR and A-V.

      1. More importantly, TABOR prevents us from FIXING the problem. We have a humongous shortfall, but there’s nothing we can do but pull up a chair and watch our state implode.

  3. Even if eliminating tabor and changing the tax code had 100% support, we’re stuck with what we presently have for the next 2 years. So what do we do?

    I still say looking outside the normal belt tightening is called for.

    1. If they have a good record in prison, and committed non-violent crimes to get there, then they should be released.

      Like you have mentioned previously David, it would free up space so we could rent out cells to neighboring states with overcrowding problems.

      1. Not sure that emptying out a few cells would result in free space to rent out to other states.  I’m not up to date on this but in recent years we’ve had a number of state inmates backed up in rented county jail cells.  Those folks would move to any emptied state cells first.  

        But here’s my question: Is anyone talking about the very negative impact of the Governor and legislators waiting so LATE in the current fiscal year to act on the growing state revenue crisis?  Every day they wait means greater negative impacts on state services and state employees between now and June 30.  

        1. to defeat bringing Colorado’s severance taxes in line with our neighboring states Colorado would have an additional $300 million in revenue.  Thanks Big Oil, please keep lobbying to gut rules protecting our water, wildlife and public health too!  That way Colorado can remain subservient to your wishes as our wells get poisoned, our ER’s shut down, and our wildlife decimated.  

          1. Blame the Governor. Amendment 58 was poorly written, and his campaign failed to get the measure passed. Big Oil was protecting its own interests–and I won’t deny their ad blitz helped take down the measure–but the fault lies with Ritter’s office.

            It probably won’t happen this year, but I hope someone gets another ballot initiative going with legislation that actually makes sense.

      1. But like you said, these are weird times.  Obviously we need to remedy that.  

        THere must be another way, though, than simply eliminating TABOR.

        Besides, by the time you can get that to the ballot, people will have so had it with Ritter and the Dem State House and Senate that there’s no way it would pass.

        Better figure something else out.

        1. If you can’t raise revenues and you’re not allowed increase the budget by more than 6% from the previous year how exactly should we address the issue?

          The state can never raise the revenues needed just to maintain services levels thanks to TABOR. A-B ensures that every time there is a downturn in the economy and the subsequent budget cuts become the new budget baseline and that we can never increase funding in the good years. The combination of the two is quite literally killing this state.

    2. Ya think!? Some specifics would help.

      Pols sources are on, this going to be very ugly on Tuesday.

      Defund higher-ed. Close corrections facilities. All of these and more are real possibilities.

  4. 1. State Legislature and Gov. will have to make tough decisions this session and make some tough state cuts “belt tightening”.

    2. State Legislature must place something on the ballot in Nov 2009 that does away with TABOR.

    3. Legislature, Gov, Obama Administration, and RTD must continue to support the original Fastracks plan which is the complete build out of the entire passenger rail system including the North and Northwest Lines by 2017) This project will help stimulate the state economy by creating jobs. This will be a project that helps bring in positive smart growth and job creation throughout the greater metro area. Also, the most northern stations near highway 7 will be the starting point to connect the communities to the north including Fort Collins, Erie, Dacono, Frederick, Firestone and others……… A transportation system that includes passenger rail from Pueblo to Fort Collins should be the goal by 2027 (but we must first complete the plan that was approved by the people in 2004 and that is the completion of all lines by 2017). We are living in the 21st Century, it’s time Colorado and America embraces that. A modern rail transportation system in our State is the pathway to not only economic stimulous but an improvement in the quality of life of our citizen’s. Our citizen’s deserve nothing less. Federal, State and RTD must work together to get this project funded NOW period.

    4. State budgets must be adopted with conservative projections which includes what some call rainy day funds. 10-20% of a n average state budget in a year should be set aside so that the leg. and gov. are not hit with this type of “bloodbath” in any given year. If the states budget has no shortfall in a year then that rainy day fund is carried over to the next year in a high interest savings or other safe investment account NOT risky stock market.

    5. Federal and State policy must be sound.

    A. Workers must be paid a living wage. The flow of money, exchanging hands, is what makes our economy run efficiently. People must have the means to take care of their families/children.

    B. Federal Trade policy that rewards companies overseas and are detrimental to U.S. companies must be stopped NOW by this President and Congress.

    C. Companies that provide a living wage, health insurance to their employees must be rewarded with tax relief and incentives.

    D. Companies that promote green jobs and energy sustainability must be rewarded.

    E. Companies that purchase a large percetage of all their products and goods from overseas must be discouraged. Walmart seems to be one of the only retailers thriving during this recession. They are succeeding because of their unAmerican, greedy philosophies and strategies.

    F. We are witnessing the long term effects of the bad trickle down policies. Look at Federal and State tax structure and make positive changes. Most tax relief and stimulous should come from the bottom up. I’m not an expert on taxes, but, if the first $25,000 that everyone makes is tax free that will certainly help those that need the help the most. This first $25,000 earned would be tax free to everyone.

    G. Strict oversight of Banking at the Federal and State level. And, actually prosecute and sentence those CEO’s and CFO’s that commit white collar crime which has hurt the middle class and working class.

    H. When the FEDERAL stimulous package arrives to Colorado invest in projects that will benefit our citizens many years from now like passenger rail Fastracks (see #3 above)

    I. Release many non-violent offenders who should not be incarcerated. This system is horribly broken. We can do much better.

    J. Lenders must place delinquent home mortgage payments to the back end of loans. NOT ONE MORE FAMILY SHOULD BE KICKED OUT OF THEIR HOMES AND ON THE STREET largely because of a failed economy and a failed system created by others. If lenders will not do it on their own then state and federal law needs to be adapted for this home mortgage crisis immediately.

    Above are some good ideas that have been tossed around on this site, talked about by some elected’s and a couple of my ideas mixed in. There’s more,but not enough time right now, I have to go.

    Let’s get to work. We have MANY families that are right at the edge of the cliff! There will be a dramatic increase in suicides and crime because of this recession if we do not act boldly and effectively NOW. We must act swiftly with good judgement that helps people immediately and prevents this mess from happening in the future. We can do it.  

      1. Pro-union, yes. Anti-business, absolutely not. I stated that we should reward businesses with incentives and tax relief if they provide liveable wages and health insurance to their employees. Or if they contribute to a healthy American economy by purchasing goods from other American companies, create green jobs or contribute in some way to energy sustainability. It’s time to move forward with progressive and common sense policy.

        1. He’ll always use sweeping generalization and never give specifics. Most of the time he’ll offer no proof to support his claims, and when he does it never holds up to scrutiny. You get nowhere with such a person.

            1. AS also calls what he does “good arguing” and is absolutely impervious to point-blank enumerations of where and how he is wrong. He just loops and loops his arguments, and claims you don’t understand when you’ve shown that you do. It’s sad.

      2. The economy has been destroyed. At the moment it has passed through the recession and is nearing a depression.  And, it happened due to the former prez and his buddies.  

        It is plain, brown material from the far end of a bull, to continue to promote failed ideas that our country will be saved by not only continuing false and destructive concepts, but increasing the number and destructive effect of such.

        Right now there is very little left of the Colorado budget to cut.  All fat was removed by Owens a decade ago.  We are now in the sad area of dismantling what used to be a wonderful state. A state that was smart in how we governed.  But, going from the reagan concept that government was bad to today, the total effect has been to destroy our beautiful state.

        The TABOR, stuff that is from the behind of elephants on their death march, propaganda that it is saving our state from tax and spend is like eating a pie made of horse apples.  All stuff, no reality.

        TABOR has been destroying Colorado from the day a no vote meant yes in 1992. Purposely written to be confusing and publicized with republican talk.  Talk which was lies and distortions.

        I support repealing TABOR and returning the budget to those elected whose job it is to make decisions.  

        1. If you think what you just wrote, you haven’t been paying attention and have no idea of why we’re in a recession.

          And your comments on TABOR make no sense.

          1. You are the only who said in this diary that the economy is not damaged. You are the one who stated that any changes or repeal of TABOR will be “. . . economically disastrous proposals would destroy the economy”

            You and your anti-government, anti-society, anti-community blathering and blustering reminds me of the milk barn floor after morning milking.

            As far as I can tell your only reason on this wonderful Earth is to complain and cry about how persecuted you are. Your vision of Utopia is a world of hate and poverty; a time returned to when Cro-magnan man struggled to survive each and every day.

            Tough, to live in a community, which can be as of any size, requires us to interact and work for the common good.  You continually want to destroy society in your personal greed.

            The American economy is trashed and going downhill everyday.  Your only solution is to promote the very actions that have placed us in this terrible condition.  You always attack those questioning your simplistic version of reality.  You distort and pretend so many things it makes you a sorry speck on the debate table.  As seen in this very thread you cannot keep your attacks and story correct.  It was you how stated there was no problem with the economy, but if the “hard left” prevailed the economy would face disastrous consequences.

            Your version of reality has no basis for the rest of us.  Our wonderful state and country mean too much to me to have you trashing the remains after what the last administration has done to it and us.

            TABOR must be repealed and our state economy placed in to the hands of those who can work on it for the betterment of Coloradoans.

    1. 1. Basically an opening statement stating the obvious.

      2. Forget it, people in Colorado like having some control over the purse strings.  You might be able to get rid of the ratchet affect, which would be a good thing, but if you try to get rid of the whole deal it will fail.

      3.  Affordable mass transit can work only if subsidized, that won’t help balance the budget.  

      4.  A rainy day fund is a good idea only if it is set up so that politician don’t have access without voter approval.  Otherwise it is just another fund to be raided with an “emergency” vote.

      5.  Another statement, followed by a change from numeric points to alphabetic

      A. What, in your opinion is a “living wage”?  It’s such a generic term that it has no real meaning.  It also isn’t part of the problem, what is a part of the problem is lack of jobs, fewer citizens working = less income tax revenues.  Fewer paychecks = less purchasing outside of necessities = less sales tax revenues.  This is certainly a big part of the shortfall.

      B.  Federal trade policy will now change to benefit companies that supported the Democrats rather than the Republicans.

      C. There’s that living wage again.  And if you force employers to pay more for each employee in a bad economy, then they will either employ fewer workers or raise their prices and sell less product.  See A above.

      D.  Another pretty generic statement.  Going green is good, but I would rather see the promotion of job creation right now.

      E.  OK, now this is just ridiculous.  Until we actually get manufacturing of items that we want to buy back into this country, you won’t find any retailers selling a lot of American-made goods.  The simple reason is that in many cases, said goods just don’t exist.  In case you hadn’t noticed we now have more people employed by government than manufacturers in this country: http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress…  You can go ahead and bash one of the successful employers in this country, but until you create a business climate that manufacturers would want to base themselves here, forget about banning foreign made items.  (HEY! Look at Wal-mart making money and keeping people employed in a bad economy.  Let’s shut ’em down!)

      F.  The tax system has been sorely in need of a complete overhaul for some time.  I agree that lower incomes should not be taxed, and think that the idea of the first $25 grand being tax-free is not a bad place to start at all.  (see we can agree on some things)

      G. There already are tons of laws and regulations pertaining to banks, but as long as politicians receive donations from them, good luck on prosecutions!

      H.  See #3 above.

      I.  Agreed that the Justice System is broken on many levels.  Too many things are being criminalized in the name of the nanny state.

      J.  So you want lenders to make loans without any recourse for defaults?  You will just freeze up credit so fewer people can get loans.

      Crap, that’s a long list.

        1. I don’t mind debate skeptic, but, lets not put people down or make comments and generalizations about people who you do not know. By the way, Pres. Bush is someone who did not “understand” and you seem to support some of his failed policy and positions.

      1. I will clarify some of my points above.

        2. Ratchet effect must go. I agree that citizen’s should be involved in the discussion whenever new tax increases are involved.

        3. Did not say transit would balance the budget. Transit and projects like the RTD Fastracks would create jobs and help improve the economy and way of life.

        4. The current budget is an emergency and using a rainy day fund under current budget scenerio would be appropriate and expected.

        5. I hope your comment is not a mean spirited suttle put down. It’s good to treat others like you want to be treated. Debate and discussion is a good thing. Let’s just keep it clean.

        A. This state and country needs to have a debate over what a living wage is. I can tell you what it isn’t. $8 working at Walmart. Lack of jobs is certainly a big part of the problem. Part of this stems from bad trade policy that benefits companies overseas and is detrimental to U.S Companies.

        B. Bull. We now have a President that will actually consider the people he serves and will follow the rule of law. The thing the last President will be remembered for is illegal wire/phone taps and illegal torture. Oh and serving Halliburton.

        C. Working men and women deserve to make a wage that can pay the mortgage, put food on the table ect…… You can’t do that on the $8/hr. Walmart way that you condone.

        D. We can go green and create jobs. Both is needed simultaniously.

        E. No use debating this point with you. Neither of us will change are positions and it is getting late.

        F. ok.

        G. More regulation of banking/lending institutions needed. Yes. We need to elect honest officials.

        H. See #3 above.

        I. I agree.

        J. If hard working people get behind because of a lay off or unemployment there must be a way for them to keep their family in their home by placing the delinquent months to the back of the loan and continueing payments when gaining employment. If the banks can be bailed out then average citizen’s should at least be assisted in restructuring loans when needed. For goodness sake lets be loving reasonable people to one another.


        1. J.  One of the reasons I am against the bailout is that it isn’t going to do anything for the average mortgage holder.  It just helps the bottom line at the institutions that are lining up for the taxpayer cash.

           Currently the majority of the people losing homes are doing so because they kept borrowing against the rising value of their home to pay for all the extra things they wanted.  That extra family car, lots of pricey electronics, that Harley Davidson that makes you look so cool riding, etc.  They thought the ride wouldn’t end.  When the bubble started to deflate, they found themselves overextended, with rising interest and lots of credit card debt.  

          We will see a lot more of mortgage defaults due to job loss in the next year I’m sure as the economy works to right itself. If we depend on borrowing against future tax revenues to try and soften the blow for some now, I believe that we will set ourselves up for more, possibly worse, trouble in the future.  

          1. Banks are just keeping the money.  They are not lending it out.  To paraphrase something I read: “We are using it to increase our assets, perhaps buy other banks.  But not for loans.”

            I know Congress does stupid things, like give away money with no strings.  But until we make them accountable for OUR money, we will just have more of this empty black hole of corporate greed.  

  5. TABOR is on hold, and has been for a few years now thanks to Ref C.

    But TABOR is responsible for a decrease in tax funds over the years at all levels of government from the State on down, and that persistent decrease in revenue has forced cuts so deep that we have no slack in funding at all.

    TABOR’s long-term effects mean we’re behind on simple things like road maintenance, and now we can’t catch up.  It means we’ve never been able to save for a rainy day, and now the miniscule rainy day fund we just created can’t even begin to cover the shortfall.

    TABOR can’t be the scapegoat here, but it’s responsible for making a bad situation a whole lot worse.

    1. Ref C only suspended the return of the TABOR dictated return of money and the ratchet effect.  Literally everything else TABOR does is still operating, such as forcing a vote on everything by Colorado citizens if it changes taxation.  

      1. Though at times like this it does somewhat hamstring the government, making FASTER and other alternative funding bills very attractive as workarounds to the crisis.  Still, a functional rainy day fund would minimize the need for removing TABOR’s tax approval provisions; obviously we don’t have one of those yet…

        At this point, Ref. C has effectively done away with the nastiest part of TABOR, and that’s the ratchet.  A-B, Gallagher, and the other interlocking nightmare provisions are going to haunt us once we come out of this crisis though, preventing us (once more) from recovering at the speed we should be allowed to recover.

        Unless the governor or legislature come up with some more FASTER-style income sources, we’re going to be taking it on the chin this year, no doubt about it.  We can raise tuition for higher ed, implement FASTER, do some criminal justice reform to release non-violent and victimless crime convicts, and maybe tack on a few other fee-for-service type acts, but that’s not going to cover a $600m gap.

  6. I have spent my professional life working to make things more efficient, not only in software that helps, but also in systems and approaches that make people more efficient. And I have seen tremendous improvements over the last 20 years.

    I think we need to do the same here. We don’t have a choice for the next 2 years. I’m not saying the below ideas are the best, or even that they’re good. But I do think we need to start looking at things like this to see if we can get some significant savings.

    Because 100 million here and 100 million there and pretty soon you’ve got some real money.

    1. Switch to a rational drug policy that de-criminalizes it. This drops costs across the justice system from police to courts to prisions. And with all that empty prision space – rent it to other states.

    2. Switch all high-traffic freeways & highways to tollways. Make the transportation system an enterprise so it can use that income off-tabor. From that we get better traffic flow and more transportation money.

    3. Look at implementing something like HMSA for all medicare, medicaid, and all businesses who want it. This would significantly reduce the cost of medical care that is funded by the state.

    4. Every state operation is tasked with finding more efficient ways to operate. Small savings add up if everyone finds them. (This is why state agencies in other states buy our software.)

    Yes budgets are going to have to be cut. But there are ways to reduce the pain if we look for those changes that can save us costs. I hope we see a major effort on this approach.

    1. 1. Bad idea. People were free to use drugs before 1900. Druggies caused so many problems that the current laws were enacted.

      2. How regressive can you get?

      3. Yes, but HSAs will be killed by the Dems in Congress as soon as they can get to it.

      4. Unrealistic. Politicians and bureaucrats have and will have no incentives to improve efficiency. They won’t do anything to cut jobs.

    2. 1.  I agree we need to change the drug enforcement in this country.  Decriminalizing marijuana would be a good first step of course, and it probably would have a reasonable chance if put on a ballot.

      2.  I hate the idea of a toll road with a passion, no surprise given that I drive a truck for a living  But I have to admit that it would not be worst idea in the world to raise revenue for the highways, if we eliminate the state gas tax as well.  

      However I don’t see this happening because it would be extremely unpopular at first, and as risk-adverse as our politicians are these days I don’t see anyone willing to stick their neck out for it.

      3.  State funded medical care is always going to be a huge drain on the budget.  Every time someone comes up with a way to “cut costs” it ends up being more expensive, after all the “improvements” that the lawmakers add on, than what it replaced. (and that pretty much applies to #4 as well)

      I think that what really needs to happen is a rethink on what we really need our government to be doing for us.  This is not a “drown the baby” statement but a reflection of the reality of what we are facing.  Government can’t do everything for us, the money just isn’t there.  And it wouldn’t be there even without TABOR.

      1. It’s more like a state owned Blue Cross with it being open to any company regardless of size. And I believe the state contracts with it for medicare and medicaid. It’s not perfect but it is a pretty good public/private setup.

      2. I hate the idea of a toll road with a passion, no surprise given that I drive a truck for a living  But I have to admit that it would not be worst idea in the world to raise revenue for the highways, if we eliminate the state gas tax as well.

        When things are this bad people are willing to consider ideas that can have a negative impact on them – because it helps the state as a whole and things are so bad.

    3. Don’t know what you mean by 3.

      As for 4, um, I think government may be effective and efficient without necessarily using your software. Strange how those things are so directly correlated to you.

      1. Actually my software is not where I would start as it would save the state around 500K the first year – not a big win. But I would look for items that could provide a bigger win.

        Speaking to what I know, the largest win would be to drop every large s/w system project and instead switch over to making small changes iteratively to improve each system. Take the biggest win, implement that, and move on to the next. Large complex projects are the least expensive most ineffective way to create new systems – and government lose fortunes on them every day.

    4. that we can’t charge people to use the Interstate – you can charge for HOV/HOT lanes and new construction, but not every lane of the freeway, federal regs and all… – I like the idea.

      I like the first idea too…but voters generally don’t.  It’s been on the ballot a few times in CA and most recently went down in flames even though it had tons of cash behind it.  Not exactly what you’re suggesting, but when voters hear “crime” and “drugs” they don’t like to hear “less or no jail time” after it.  Things are bad and voters may come around, but things are worse in the Golden State and it still failed 60-40.

      The bottom line is your last point.  We can’t invent new revenue streams fast enough to fix anything in the current budget.  Cuts are the gonna have to suffice for now…

  7. he accuses others of using ‘old debate tactics’ when asked to reference an actual source.  

    Better an ‘old debate tactic’ than ‘no debate tactic.’

  8. Sell the naming rights!

    Wal-Mart U. in Boulder, they are more solvent than ever.

    McDonald State in Ft. Collins, they too are doing fine.  A real Hamburger U.

    1. Where we could have on the ballot:

      1. Fixing TABOR.

      2. Large temporary tax increase on the wealthy (with an exemption for bloggers in Boulder).

      3. Large bond issue for infrastructure projects needed across the state.

            1. Everyone was out talking up their one amendment. And you had people badmouthing each because it was not perfect. This past ballot came across as everyone and their brother had their pet project on it. Especially with all the pro and anti union fighting taking most of the mind share about the initiatives.

              1. That’s the climate for every ballot and every ballot to come. Part of treating voters like grownups is dealing with the reality we face on the ballot, including distractions and less than perfect politicians, because those will always exist.

                I’ll grant you, Romanoff and Ritter didn’t get their shit together on 58 and 59 early enough and coherently enough (the state had bigger fish to fry with the DNC, Udall and nine electoral votes, so it was hard getting everyone’s full-time commitment). And Ritter drew an opponent with very deep pockets and the determination to spend what it takes. Neither the competing interests nor the deep pockets are going away, either.

                1. Where there was a very clear message from the leaders of the state about those two items, the main discussion was mostly about those 2 items, and they were very clearly of value to a wide range of people.

                  This past election was the opposite of that. There was no clear message from the political leadership of the state and both 58 & 59 were quite complex which made it easier to tage them as special interest legislation.

                  And as you said, there was so much competition for various things on the ballot, the initiatives got the short end of the stick.

                  1. and the state Republican Party had enough prominent members willing to stick their necks out to make it a truly bipartisan campaign. In the Era of Wadhams, that’s not going to happen, even if there were enough prominent Republicans  with backbone left. Suthers won’t back a TABOR repeal if he hopes to get the Senate nomination, and none of the others with pretensions to statewide prominence will either.

                    So it’s a nice idea you have but it doesn’t square with reality.

          1. You can’t ignore the results of the last election.

            Voters were pretty clear.  No more taxes.

            You can take the “enlightened Boulder progressive” position that the voters didn’t know what they were doing.  But you and I both know that’s bullshit.

            I think the voters knew exactly what they were doing.  And they said “No” to more taxes.

        1. You can’t deny that when governments spend money, people become employed.  (Who then pay taxes, BTW.)

          So the issue isn’t the effectiveness of spending to get out of a Bushcession, it’s where does the money come from.

          FDR took the advice of Willie Sutton: “I rob banks becasue that’s where the money is.”  So, where is the money to spend for stimulation?  One answer is “To print more.”  Ummm, bad consequences.  Another is to tax our children and their children.  It’s called borrowing from China, etc.  Not very moral and it costs more because of interest, thus diluting the very effect that we want.

          The third, and proven option is taxing the rich.  Like Sutton’s banks, that’s where the money is.  Morally, it would merely reverse the Reagan and later extreme growth of the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

          Or, we could do nothing but tax cuts and watch people have a few hundred more dollars a year to spend at Wart-Mart, funneling funds to China, while infrastructure and the 21st century rots away.

          Spend money NOW on long term projects with tangible results for America.  Tax the rich ASAP to avoid inflation and borrowing.  

      1. 1. fix Tabor-yes, would pass issue with infrastructure projects including RTD Fastracks- yes, good chance of passing.

        2. tax on the wealthy- probably would not pass because the wealthy would come out and spend millions on commercials similiar to the TV commercial lies against Amend 58 last year.

        1. And I’m sure those aren’t all the budget strait jackets CO is faced with.  

          I think people would be much more receptive to a TABOR change if all of the oxen were being gored.  

          1. good opportunity to fund the rest of RTD Fastracks. RTD just released poll results at the Metro Mayor Caucus Fastracks Task Force that shows that voters “support the full build out of the program by it’s original time frame”…(2017)…”even if that means it’ll take more money to do it.” Results will be in newspapers tomorrow or go to RTD website. I rec’d an email stating the resuts of the survey could be seen on the web site.

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